This article from the Coos Bay World explains that the 5,400-acre Coquille Tribal Forest in Oregon is no longer “coupled” to BLM management practices — including Northwest Forest Plan restrictions on harvesting. Maybe the agencies ought to consult with the tribe as it considers revising the Northwest Forest Plan.
For the first time in a century and a half, the Coquille Indian Tribe is preparing to manage its forest land by its own rules. Under federal legislation signed in January, the tribe no longer must follow the “standards and guidelines” of federal agencies.
The likely result? Increased timber production. A more flexible, sensible approach to environmental protection. Attention to a wide range of species instead of just a few.
“Our focus is on a holistic, balanced approach to forest management,” said Colin Beck, the tribe’s forest manager. “We don’t want to provide for timber harvest while ignoring the needs of the ecosystem, or manage for one or two species while ignoring other management goals. Our goal is to provide a sustained level of timber harvest while still meeting the needs of all of the species that call the forest home.”
According to the article, some changes may include:
• Stream buffers will become more sensible. Instead of arbitrarily banning harvest within 220 feet of a stream, the tribe will capitalize on scientific studies showing responsible ways to use varying buffers.
• The harvest system likewise will be more flexible. Instead of designating broad no-cut zones, the tribe may cut individual trees, or select clumps of trees to be left as wildlife habitat.
• In keeping with ancestral practices, some areas will be managed for multiple resources. Instead of focusing solely on marketable timber, the tribe values plant species such as bear grass, hazel and camas, all used for food or basketry material.